RCMP need your video and images of Remembrance Day disruption – Kelowna Information

Rob Gibson | Story: 351390

Photo: Larry Lava

A woman began speaking about COVID-19 vaccine mandates to a crowd gathered for Remembrance Day at Kelowna’s City Park cenotaph on Thursday morning.

Kelowna RCMP continues to investigate Thursday’s Remembrance Day ceremony disruption at the Cenotaph in downtown Kelowna.

A group of anti-vaxxers turned up at an impromptu Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph and set up a microphone and started to speak while people were paying their respects.

Officers responded to a report of 75-100 demonstrators at City Park around 10:55 a.m. Thursday.

“Ceremonies across the city had been restricted due to the pandemic; however, members of the public, as well as veterans, gathered to remember,” their new release shared.

Demonstrators interrupted the assembly and officers attended the scene to keep the peace.
“Kelowna RCMP officers support a person or group’s right to protest, but when they choose to willfully interrupt the assembly of citizens at a Remembrance Day ceremony; this is a step too far. The Kelowna RCMP will be fully investigating this event to determine what offence, criminal or otherwise may have been committed and if appropriate the submission of charges or fines.” Insp. Adam MacIntosh Operations Officer shared in the release.

“Anyone who captured the disruption or the events leading up to it on video are asked to upload video or send a link to the video using the following email proxy: [email protected]

This proxy will be available until November 30, 2021.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran has condemned the demonstrators, as have other city officials and leaders.

As always if you have videos or photos please share them with [email protected].


Nicholas Johansen and Kristen Holliday – Nov 12, 2021 / 4:00 am | Story: 351365

Photo: Google Street View

Kelowna’s Rail Trail, off Dilworth Drive

A fundraiser launched for a teenager who was attacked on the Kelowna Rail Trail has raised over $15,000 in one day to help him recover.

According to police, the teen was cycling on the trail east of Dilworth Drive on Tuesday when two “transient males” attacked him and stole his bike, shoes and cell phone, leaving him with serious, non-life threatening injuries.

Friends of 17-year-old Dallas, including Amber Biglow, her son Liam, and his friend Austin set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $5,000 to help support his recovery.

As of Thursday night, $15,239 had been donated. Liam said he didn’t expect to get so many donations so quickly.

“It was just amazing,” he said.

“We showed [Dallas] the GoFundMe, and he was just so thankful. His mind is at ease now, he was worried about work and everything. So he’s just so happy.”

Liam said Dallas — who suffered a fractured skull and collapsed lung in the attack — supports himself by working full-time while juggling school, and the fundraiser was launched to help remove financial burdens while he recovers.

“He’s very helpful for everyone around him, which is why it was nice to do this thing for him,” Liam said.

He said Dallas is now at home after undergoing surgery at Kelowna General Hospital.

“He’s not doing the best but he’s hanging in there,” Liam said.

Liam said he was “really worried” about his friend after hearing about the attack.

“I tried to calm myself the best I can, and just focus on what needed to get done, because worrying about him is not really going to do much. It was definitely scary. I’m a little more cautious when I’m going to go outside now.”

Biglow said it’s amazing to see the group of friends band together to support Dallas’ recovery.

“We had one of the teachers from the school call — Liam and Austin’s school — just saying how remarkable this group is,” Biglow said.

“I’m sure everybody knows what teenagers can be like, but this group of guys just sticks together. They’ve been friends for so long and always have each other’s back. It’s amazing to see.”

Photo: Kelowna & District S.H.A.R.E. Society

The Kelowna & District S.H.A.R.E Society has been giving holiday season hampers to those in need for about a decade and the need is very high in 2021.

Sign up for its Adopt-a-Family campaign was set to close on Nov. 2, but they are now taking applications until Nov. 16. From Nov. 16 to Nov. 20, the society will then match clients with sponsors.

Program Coordinator Kaitlyn Hilder explains that they have opened up in the last two years to a wider demographic.

“So in the past, and a lot of other hamper programs, typically focus on a family unit, which is typically parents with children. We’ve opened that up to be individual singles, seniors on their own, families with dependent parents or dependent adult children.”

Anyone who qualifies as low income can apply. Many of their clients have received hampers in the past, but they also get referrals from other social agencies in the city, and people can sign up online as well.

The society asks applicants to provide a food and gift list, which is then passed on to sponsors.

“They also get the option for whether they want it to be picked up from S.H.A.R.E Society, where they get to stay a little more private, or if they want to meet their sponsor and have it delivered to them directly,” Hilder said, adding about 90 per cent of clients want to connect with their sponsors.

So far, about 100 applications have come in and 70 sponsors have stepped up. While that’s on par with previous years, the demand is expected to rise.

“This year, very similar to the last year, the need is still really high, especially with COVID. We’re still getting lots of agencies that we’re talking to about how they’re seeing the same thing. The need has continued to go up and it is still a difficult year for a lot of people,” Hilder notes.

This Saturday, Nov. 13, hamper families will be interviewed at S.H.A.R.E. (581 Gaston Ave), and they are encouraged to bring their children because Santa will be on hand.

“Their kids are welcome to come in and learn about the power of giving and choose a gift for their parents or their siblings, maybe their grandma. And we get to help wrap them up and label them, get them out to them to actually give out a gift for the holidays.”


Photo: Contributed

The annual Toy Run event in Kelowna is once again collecting toys and donations for The Salvation Army.

This year, a group called the O.T.B. 4×4 Unoffendables are in charge of the event. Since the first event in 2011, the Toy Run has raised around $30,000 for the Salvation Army. Last year roughly 500 trucks showed up in support of the event.

On Nov. 27 at 8 a.m., the Salvation Army and volunteers will meet at High Noon Park on Old Vernon Road in Kelowna to accept all toy donations, and they’ll be selling raffle tickets for prizes donated by local businesses.

Ana Maldovan, an organizer of the event, says despite being busy with getting everything ready, it’s a very rewarding feeling.

“There’s definitely a lot to do, but we’re all very excited about it, and it just feels so awesome being a part of something that helps others in the community,” said Maldovan.

So far, they’ve collected prizes from Safeway, Okanagan Power Equipment Ltd, Metal Structure Concepts, Lordco and several others, but any and all additional donations to the raffle are appreciated. Hot chocolate and cookies will also be available.

Photo: Castanet Staff

File photo

It won’t be virtual this time around.

The 8th annual Polar Bear Dip, in support of Kelowna’s Community Recreation Initiatives Society (CRIS), will be back in full splash-mode on New Year’s Day, 2022. In 2021, it was scaled back to an online challenge.

In past years, the event has attracted upwards of 1,200 people ready to plunge into Okanagan Lake at Tugboat Beach, to welcome the new year.

The fundraising goal is $50,000 and the format for giving will be a bit different.

“In past, we’ve done admission by donation, but this year we’re just doing tickets online through Trellis, a fundraising platform. So, people can pre-register there and it’s $20, and all of that goes towards our fundraising goal,” explained Danielle Hennig, Director of Programs at Community Recreation Initiatives Society.

There’s also an option for people to set up personal fundraising pages to collect pledges.

Hennig said they have taken a financial hit during the pandemic.

“In the past year with the pandemic restrictions, we haven’t been able to host some of our other regular fundraising events. So, we’re trying to make up for a little bit on this one.”

She points out a few generous donors have helped keep their program going in recent months.

CRIS offers adaptive outdoor recreation programs for people with disabilities, like hiking, biking and kayaking. It was founded in 2001, inspired by Troy Becker, an individual with Down Syndrome, who realized that not everyone was as lucky as he was to enjoy such privileges.

The annual New Year’s Day polar bear swim in Kelowna is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on January 1, 2022, at Tugboat Beach.

Cindy White

The Kelowna Gospel Mission hopes to have 10 new sleeping pods ready for clients at its Doyle Avenue shelter within the next few weeks.

Funding from BC Housing announced last week will help pay for the added space, which is badly needed with the cold weather setting in.

“I know that we are going to be able to fill our beds right away. According to outreach through Kelowna Gospel Mission, there are quite a few individuals sleeping rough, which means at tent city and in other places throughout town,” said Anita Neufeld, assistant manager of the Doyle Ave. shelter. “So, we could use quite a few more beds, but 10 is a good start.”

To accommodate the additional pods, the dining room is going to be moved into a separate space, away from the sleeping area.

“At the front, it’s going to be simply sleeping areas, with a separate dining area, which is nice for the residents to have that,” added Neufeld.

Each pod will include a single bed, an end table, a locker and two storage bins for personal items and clothing.

Neufeld said there has definitely been an increase in demand for shelter beds in recent months.

“The price of rent is so high that people on a fixed income have a really hard time being able to afford anything in market housing,” she said.

She believes there is more than enough space in the Doyle Ave. facility to meet short-term expansion demands.

While the Kelowna Gospel Mission doesn’t have a specific fundraiser during the holiday season, Neufeld said churches in the community have been very generous with their support. She also said there are quite a few volunteers who donate their time and their resources to ensure residents have a wonderful Christmas.

If you want to donate clothing to the Gospel Mission, the biggest needs right now are socks and warm clothing.

Photo: Larry Lava

A woman began speaking about COVID-19 vaccine mandates to a crowd gathered for Remembrance Day at Kelowna’s City Park cenotaph on Thursday morning.

UPDATE: 4:16 p.m.

Kelowna RCMP are investigating into the ‘disruption at Cenotaph’ that occurred Thursday morning, when a person opposed to COVID-19 measures started to speak while people were paying their respects.

Officers responded to a report of 75-100 demonstrators at City Park around 10:55 a.m.

“Ceremonies across the city had been restricted due to the pandemic; however, members of the public as well as veterans gathered to remember,” their new release shared.

Demonstrators interrupted the assembly and officers attended the scene to keep the peace.

“Kelowna RCMP officers support a person or groups right to protest, but when they choose to willfully interrupt the assembly of citizens at a Remembrance Day ceremony; this is a step too far. The Kelowna RCMP will be fully investigating this event to determine what offence, criminal or otherwise may have been committed and if appropriate the submission of charges or fines.” Insp. Adam MacIntosh Operations Officer shared in the release.

RCMP are asking for anyone who captured the disruption on video to send a copy of the video to the detachment. The RCMP is in the process of creating an email proxy for this purpose and more information will soon be made available.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 or remain completely anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or by leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.

A man who recited the Ode of Remembrance at Kelowna’s City Park cenotaph Thursday morning was “disgusted” when a woman began speaking about COVID-19 vaccine mandates to the crowd, who were there to remember the fallen.

Neal went to the cenotaph Thursday morning to pay his respects to those who’ve died in past wars. While the City of Kelowna once again did not hold a formal ceremony, due to the pandemic, Neal said he wanted to recite the Ode to the Fallen at the cenotaph, which he did in 2020 as well.

“It’s something that needs to be said … these things are measures of respect,” Neal told Castanet.

When he saw someone had set up a microphone attached to a generator, he asked if he could recite the poem. The impromptu ceremony also included a bugler playing The Last Post and Reveille, and a piper playing Piper’s Lament.

But immediately after he finished reciting the poem, Neal says a woman who appeared to be with the people who brought the sound equipment started speaking about vaccine mandates.

“She came onto the mic and then began with this bulls**t about how the legion had dropped the ball, blah, blah, blah, vaccines … fill in the blank,” Neal said.

He noted the woman didn’t appear to have any knowledge of the poem he recited, which is regularly recited at Remembrance Day ceremonies.

“She had no knowledge of it, she didn’t have it there with her, she wasn’t there to participate in any level of a Remembrance ceremony,” he said. “She was there to slag the legion because they’re requiring vaccines.”

Video from the scene shows Neal wasn’t the only one upset by the woman’s speech, as several people loudly expressed their disapproval to the woman.

“I’ve never been as disgusted in my fellow man in my life. There were many, many people there voicing that,” Neal said.

“I don’t care about your position, it’s the day. You can go ahead and pick a different spot, you might as well go protest in front of a school or hospital, it’s as reprehensible.”

Neal says he has no affiliation with the group who brought the sound equipment, and he doesn’t think the bugler and piper were associated with them either, as they walked away from the area once the woman started talking about vaccines.

Neal says he had actually reached out to the local legion a few days prior and suggested they send a bugler to the cenotaph on Remembrance Day.

Most of the group who were gathered at the cenotaph dispersed once the woman took the microphone, Neal says. While no formal ceremony was held this year, the Field of Crosses was set up in City Park for people to privately pay their respects.

A number of RCMP officers were at City Park following the incident. Castanet has reached out to the Kelowna RCMP for more information.

UPDATE: 12:40 p.m.

Police responded to Kelowna’s City Park Thursday morning after a person opposed to COVID-19 measures caused a disruption, as people were paying respects to the fallen.

The Field of Crosses was set up in City Park, along with a number of wreaths at the base of the cenotaph, for residents to pay their respects to the fallen. The City of Kelowna did not hold a formal ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A group of people protesting the province’s COVID-19 measures set up beside the cenotaph with a microphone and a woman spoke about COVID-19 and vaccines. The group included Bruce Orydzuk, a regular COVID-19 protester who was caught on camera hurling racist comments at a security guard outside a vaccination clinic last summer.

The disruption appeared to upset many in the crowd, with some telling her it was not the place for such a protest.

“Ceremony in downtown Kelowna was ruined by an anti-vaxxer speech,” a Castanet reader said. “Crowd dispersed, police called.”

“At the end of the brief ceremony an anti-Vaxxer, anti-masker grabbed the mic and started on a rant,” another person posted on social media. “It was upsetting to most of the people there that this person would choose this time and place to express their views especially on such a sensitive subject.”

A number of RCMP officers were roaming around the cenotaph area Thursday morning, and one officer said they were there because of the protesters. Castanet has reached out to the Kelowna RCMP for more information.

The only formal Remembrance Day ceremony held in the Central Okanagan took place at West Kelowna’s Royal LePage Place Thursday, where the event’s capacity was limited to 750 people.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most public ceremonies were once again cancelled.

Photo: Wayne Moore

Remembrance Day ceremony at West Kelowna’s Royal LePage Place Thursday.

ORIGINAL: 4 a.m.

Remembrance Day will be marked in a subdued manner in many Thompson-Okanagan communities today.

Some Royal Canadian Legion branches are hosting public ceremonies, but others are holding private gatherings to remember the fallen.

The Kelowna Legion (Branch 26) is not hosting a formal public ceremony. There will be a small, private, outdoor event for some of its members.

Those wishing to pay their respects can do so at the Field of Crosses set up in City Park.

West Kelowna is hosting a public indoor Remembrance Day ceremony, at Royal LePage Place, from 10:45 a.m. to Noon, Thursday. Capacity is limited to 750 people. Everyone 12 and over must be fully vaccinated, and everyone, including children under 12, must wear a mask.

In Vernon, there will be a small, private ceremony at the cenotaph downtown.

Veterans in Kamloops will lay wreaths during a brief, private ceremony of invited guests, which will be available online. www.facebook.com/KamloopsLegion/

There will be an outdoor public Remembrance Day ceremony in Penticton at Veterans Memorial Park, beginning at 11 a.m. People should arrive at least 15 minutes early, masks are mandatory, and attendees must maintain physical distance.

In Peachland, there will be a ceremony at the cenotaph at 11 a.m. and live music at the legion from 2-4 p.m.

The Summerland Legion will be live streaming its ceremony for the public to watch.

Rob Gibson – Nov 11, 2021 / 1:00 pm | Story: 351318

Photo: Michelle Ward

Okanagan College is offering a sneak peek into the secret world of Soviet-era map makers.

The library at Okanagan College has had a display running since the start of November featuring Remembrance Day themes including a Cold War relic – a secret Soviet map of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Terence Day, Ph.D. in the Department of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science at Okanagan College says, “it’s kind of cool.”

The library also has a display of books associated with Remembrance Day. The only catch is the school is closed on Nov. 11.

“We’ll keep the display going until Nov. 19,” says Michelle Ward with Okanagan College library.

Day says the map is interesting and potentially significant because of the detail it contains and the fact that it lists the buildings with military and defence significance.

“They’re a bit of a mystery really,” Day says. The maps are extremely detailed and appear to be created using Soviet-era satellites. The writing is in Russian. Day says the maps would have been augmented by people, possibly Russian spies, walking the streets.

“They could have been used for a number of purposes, including an invasion, commando raids, reconnaissance. They are also just a great repository for information.”

Day says as a geographer these maps are particularly exciting.

“It’s interesting to see what’s in them and what is left out,” he said. “Other people have ideas about the way places look and the way that we map them is very much dependent on the culture of the people who create them.”

Day says he owns a similar map of Montreal and he knows of others that outline other major Canadian cities.

“I think the location of the individual military sights is significant,” he said. “I lived in Halifax for many years and I didn’t know what they were, I do now.”

Photo: File photo

Moyra Baxter

Moyra Baxter is back as chairperson of the Central Okanagan Public Schools Board of Education.

Baxter was the only nominee whose name was put forward for chairperson at Wednesday night’s school board Annual General Meeting.

“Thank you everyone for your confidence in me. That’s one of the easiest things I’ve had to go through in the last little while,” she said. “I hope that we can move forward this year and work together solving many of the issues we have now in the school district. And also finding ways to acknowledge the wonderful things that are going on as well, and to celebrate.”

Baxter has served as chairperson for at least 15 terms. She is the trustee for Zone II, which includes the District of Peachland, Central Okanagan West Electoral Area and Tsinstikeptum Indian Reserves #9 & #10

During the AGM, trustees also elected representatives to a number of organizations, including the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Provincial Council and the BC Public School Employers’ Association Representative Council.

Photo: Contributed

It’s not a vaccine mandate, yet.

The Central Okanagan Public Schools Board of Education has voted to require employees to validate their vaccination status. What exactly that means remains unclear.

The decision was made during an in-camera meeting and announced during Wednesday night’s public board meeting.

“The discussion that we had was based on the fact that although we had done a more informal, anonymous type survey, we had an awful lot of people who had not responded. And if we really want to decide how we can move forward, taking into consideration in Interior Health and the Northern Health region vaccination rates are lower than the Lower Mainland, for instance, we really did need to get a more exact idea of exactly where are we with this,” said Moyra Baxter, Board Chairperson.

Supt. Kevin Kardaal told trustees that senior staff will be setting up meetings with union executives starting early next week to go over a validation process.

Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association president Susan Bauhart asked the board for clarification on what they are seeking.

“What you are directing the superintendent to do, is to find out from all employees in the district, and trustees, are you vaccinated, once, twice, or are you not?” Baxter said yes, that is what they will be asking.

No timeline has been set yet for the process.

“We haven’t actually said what we think the timeline should be. The superintendent is going to be meeting with the unions, so there can be discussions about this, and then he will come back and tell us what the timelines are,” added Baxter.

Kardaal pointed out that detailed information on each staff member’s vaccine status will be kept confidential. “It will meet all the FOIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) requirements as we move forward, legal requirements for such an action. This is still a gathering information stage and it’s validating or confirming what we were seeing in a voluntary survey. That’s all that’s happening at this point.”

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